Update on Well Explosion in Western PA

Chesapeake Energy was flaring three gas wells in Avella, located in Washington County, PA on Feb. 23 when tanks holding some 105,000 gallons of natural gas liquids exploded. Contrary to some reports, the explosion had nothing to do with hydraulic fracturing fluids. The cause of the explosion is still under investigation and not known at this time.

As for the three workers injured, at least one of them is still in critical condition:

One of the contracted workers, Richard Lancaster, 50, of Sardis, Ohio, remained Thursday in critical condition at UPMC-Mercy hospital, Pittsburgh, where he was flown after the fire erupted at the Joseph Powers gas wells, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Frank Lancaster, 36, of New Martinsville, W.Va., was flown with burn injuries to West Penn Hospital, Pittsburgh, where his condition was not immediately available. The other worker, Russell Schoolcraft, 48, of Clover, W.Va., was in serious condition Thursday at Mercy, the spokeswoman said.

The three workers were wearing flame-resistant clothing and removing water from snow melt when the fire of undetermined cause erupted.*

As for damage to the local environment:

[T]he DEP said Thursday that it did not appear the fire caused any major environmental damages. Much of the cleanup…involved containing the foam used to fight the fire.*

*Observer-Reporter (Feb 25) – One hurt in methane blaze still critical


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